Stewardship, Faithfulness & Fruitfulness

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Nobleman Minas

Sunday 05/05/24

Title: Stewardship, Faithfulness & Fruitfulness

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Stewardship, Faithfulness & Fruitfulness

This is our 5th week of Eastertide where we remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and our union with Him in the same.

We’ve been focusing on the fact that Jesus’ teachings both before and after His resurrection were focused upon the Kingdom of God.

Before His death and resurrection He spoke of how the Kingdom of God was very near… at the very door in fact He once said. He even told one group that there were some there who would NOT die until they saw the Kingdom of God come with Power. 

Today we are going to begin in Matthew 4 and 9 reading a few verses which emphasize this point and then we will move on to one of the parables Jesus taught about the kingdom of God

Matthew 4:12-17,

“(12) Now when Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he went into Galilee.  (13)  While in Galilee, He moved from Nazareth to make His home in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,  (14)  so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled:  (15)  “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles –  (16)  the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned.”  (17)  From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!”


Matthew 9:35-38,

“(35) And Jesus continued His circuits through all the towns and the villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and curing every kind of disease and infirmity. 

(36) And when He saw the crowds He was touched with pity for them, because they were distressed and were fainting on the ground like sheep which have no shepherd. (37) Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few; (38) therefore entreat the Owner of the Harvest to send out reapers into His fields.”

Now Jesus goes on to give His disciples authority to go into the human “fields” of Israel as reapers and what is learned from His teaching of them before sending them out will give greater understanding to our parable of focus this morning.

For now we are going to shift gears and move on to a parable of Jesus’ that begins in Luke 19:11 and which bears upon what we just read. Then we will circle back to Matthew 10 and read, what I believe amounts to a “how to” manual for being a reaper or a good steward over the authority God gives His servants regarding His kingdom.

So turn with me to Luke 19:11-27.

This has a similar parable which is found in Matthew 25 which we may read next week. They may be the same incident only recounted a little differently but I believe it was two similar teachings offered on separate occasions.

Luke uses the Mina as the unit of money while Matthew uses talents

Luke has ten servants to which he gave 1 mina each while Matthew he has three servants to whom was given 5, 2 and 1 one talents respectively. 

Both parables are otherwise nearly identical except the result of the last servant is more clearly defined in Matthew than in Luke

Again this may be the exact same event since both occurred before Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, or they may simply be a re-working / re-telling of the parable to a separate crowd. Such is done all the time today and since He was about to be hailed and then crucified as their king it would make sense that in the weeks leading up to His final week, Jesus would make use of teachings like this frequently!

But in the one before us in Luke 19 immediately followed Jesus’ encounter with Zaccchaeus the chief tax collector and his very public repentance. In fact it was this very public repentance and salvation which seems to have precipitated the telling of this parable by Jesus since He began teaching it even as the crowd was still reeling from this event.

“(11) While the people were listening to these things, Jesus proceeded to tell a parable, because He was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.  

(12)  Therefore He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.  (13)  And he summoned ten of his slaves, gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’  

(14)  But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be king over us!’  

(15)  When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he summoned these slaves to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much they had earned by trading.  

(16)  So the first one came before him and said, ‘Sir, your mina has made ten minas more.’  

(17)  And the king said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been faithful in a very small matter, you will have authority over ten cities.’  

(18)  Then the second one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has made five minas.’  (19)  So the king said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’  

(20)  Then another slave came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina that I put away for safekeeping in a piece of cloth.  (21)  For I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You withdraw what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.’  

(22)  The king said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! 

So you knew, did you, that I was a severe man, withdrawing what I didn’t deposit and reaping what I didn’t sow?  (23)  Why then didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I returned I could have collected it with interest?’  

(24)  And he said to his attendants, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten.’  

(25)  But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas already!’  

(26)  ‘I tell you that everyone who has will be given more, but from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  (27)  But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and slaughter them in front of me!’”

Now if  you remember, I told you that following Matthew 9 where Jesus said that “the harvest was great but the laborers were few – pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will SEND laborers into His field” Jesus went on in Chapter 10 to expound upon this labor and on what it entailed.

So turn with me to Matthew 10…  

Matthew 10:1-42,

“(1) Jesus called His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness.  

(2)  Now these are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter), and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee and John his brother;  (3)  Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;  (4)  Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.  

(5)  Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them as follows: 

“Do not go on a road that leads to Gentile regions and do not enter any Samaritan town.  (6)  Go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

So Jesus directs where they went and to whom. Just like He does under the New Covenant as is described in 1 Corinthians 12.

He also gives them the message – 

“(7)  As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near!’  

(8)  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”

This sounds very much like the later part of Mark 16, however as I was telling Pam on Wednesday night after church, this later portion of Mark 16 is not in any of the oldest copies of Mark. Nevertheless, I am convinced that even though it was clearly added, it was only added for clarification’s sake and does not represent an addition to what Jesus actually said.

Mark 16:15-20,

“(15) He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  (16)  The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.  (17)  These signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages;  (18)  they will pick up snakes with their hands, and whatever poison they drink will not harm them; they will place their hands on the sick and they will be well.”

(19)  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.  (20)  They went out and proclaimed everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through the accompanying signs.]]”

For certain these apostles did go out and preach, deliver and heal in Jesus’ name.

Then Jesus tells them not to provide for themselves, but to live by the preaching of the Gospel…

“(9)  Do not take gold, silver, or copper in your belts,  (10)  no bag for the journey, or an extra tunic, or sandals or staff, for the worker deserves his provisions.  

(11)  Whenever you enter a town or village, find out who is worthy there and stay with them until you leave.  (12)  As you enter the house, greet those within it.  (13)  And if the house is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.  

(14)  And if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your message, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that house or that town.  (15)  I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town!  

Jesus encourages them to be smart but harmless, wary but unafraid and confident in their message and that the One Who has sent them will be with them.

(16)  “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 

(17)  Beware of people, because they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues.  (18)  And you will be brought before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them and to the Gentiles.  

(19)  Whenever they hand you over for trial, do not worry about how to speak or what to say, for what you should say will be given to you at that time.  (20)  For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  

(21)  “Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death.  (22)  And you will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved!  

(23)  Whenever they persecute you in one town, flee to another

I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” 

This is a side issue this morning but because we are here I will address this statement. If you remember Jesus’ favorite title by which He referred to Himself was “THE Son of man” which was a reference back to Daniel of Messiah Who would come with and to rule an everlasting kingdom over the nations of the earth. In fact out of the 87 times this phrase appears in the New Testament – 83 are from Jesus’ Own mouth regarding Himself.

Though translations differ a little, a generally safe observation is that when scripture is referencing Jesus as Messiah and King the phrase is “THE son of man” while all other accounts have ‘A son of man’.

As such, this would have been fulfilled either at Jesus’ Triumphant Entry OR His resurrection from the dead.

(24)  “A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave greater than his master.  (25)  It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much worse will they call the members of his household!  

(26)  “Do not be afraid of them, for nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known.  (27)  What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops.  

(28)  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  

(29)  Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  (30)  Even all the hairs on your head are numbered.  (31)  So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.  

(32)  “Whoever, then, acknowledges Me before people, I will acknowledge before My Father in heaven.  (33)  But whoever denies Me before people, I will deny him also before My Father in heaven.  

(34)  “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword!  (35)  For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,  (36)  and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.  

(37)  “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  (38)  And whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.  

(39)  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.  

(40)  “Whoever receives you receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives the One Who sent Me.  

(41)  Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.  (42)  And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.”

So the lesson of the parable of the Minas, if not that of the Talents as well, is that all of us who are His servants should be and remain busy in the work of the kingdom until He returns.

The work or business of the kingdom is both internal and external. 

  • Internally there is loving, loyal devotion to Jesus as our Lord and King which is evidenced by how we live our lives. 
  • Externally there is a living, sharing and proclaiming of the Kingdom and King to both saved and lost to invite all who will come and bow to do so.

So the business of the kingdom is to be busy and occupied producing GAIN for the kingdom from the investment our Lord and King Jesus has made in us.

To do so with simplicity and wisdom. Not overstaying our welcome and moving on to more productive fields.

Jesus told the crowd who followed Him in John 6 that the work of God was to believe in the One the Father sent.

We spent some time two weeks ago pointing out that belief is ALWAYS producing correlating works!

One of the works Jesus did which He called “doing His Father’s business” was when in His youth he was found studying and sharing the Word of God in the temple as is recorded in Luke 2:41-50.

Jesus was teaching the disciples BEFORE the Kingdom was opened to the whole world and so they were told to stick to Jewish areas. So how does that change the work of the Kingdom for us?

Ours is not a call to Jews or Gentiles so much… instead we are called to both believers and unbelievers.

The kind of life we should live towards believers includes:

  • Ministering to their spiritual & natural needs.
  • Be like-minded, sympathetic, compassionate, willing to suffer for one another…etc.
  • Avoid sibling squabbles… Walk in love.
  • Aid one another in regard to sinful and righteous behavior

The kind of life we should live towards the world

  • Salt & LightWhich includes the charge to not be diluted by the influence of the world and living lives of godliness before the world so they can see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. This includes our love for each other which is how Jesus said the world would know us.
  • We are also to be gentle and respectful towards them & NEVER retaliating OR DEFENDING ourselves but only blessing.

In this parable we learned that the world are the subjects who did not want the nobleman to rule over them.

>You see, their delegation was a rejection both of the Nobleman AND those doing business on His behalf.

>They rejected the message they brought, the life they lived and the kingdom in which they served.

On the flipside this means they were NOT rejecting the one “servant” who did NOT do business until He returned. 

That servant blended in with them so well, as to be indiscernible from them as His servant and in fact appeared to be ONE OF THEM.

Finally we learned that: 

  • Upon His return He FIRST deals with his 10 servants which are broken down into three categories by only mentioning three of them.
    • To the first two He gave praise and honored him with authority.
    • We learned that regardless of the amount or effectiveness of the work done by His servants – those who accomplished work until He returned were honored by ruling WITH HIM with authority granted in step with the effectiveness of their service to Him.
    • The final servant is called wicked and Matthew’s account has him cast into outer darkness.

The takeaways therefore are…

  1. Examine yourself – How? By the word and by invitation (invite Him).
    1. PS. 139 “(23) Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. (24) See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
  2. Be passionate about the Kingdom and our King
  3. Be prepared for His return. – How? By doing business until He returns.
  4. Be a surrendered servant.
  5. Be a faithful servant.



Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!